Jeremiah Wright resurfaces in an ad, but the buy size is not clear
Conservative consultants Sal Russo and Joe Wierzbicki and former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian are the men behind the ad, which over 40 seconds or so rolls out a series of quick-hit attacks on Obama.
Contending that John McCain has not been aggressive enough, the trio have rented a bus that they intend to drive across the country with the goal of rallying voters against Obama in battleground states.
Wierzbicki estimated that they have raised $600,000 to $700,000 for their new political action committee, Our Country Deserves Better. But a Democratic source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said word in political circles is that so far the amount of money spent to air the ad may be as little as $6,000.
The PAC's fundraising numbers could not be verified from Federal Election Commission filings. The group won’t have to file its initial disclosure until later this month.
The ad opens with a shot from 2007, as several of the Democrats then seeking the party's presidential nomination stand on an outdoor stage for the National Anthem. All have their hands over their hearts, except Obama, who stands at attention with his hands clasped in front of him.
“Barack Obama seems to have different values from most Americans,” the narrator intones.
After linking Obama with the militant Palestinian group Hamas, screens of Wright in the pulpit appear as the narrator says, “And who can forget these hateful sermons from Obama’s pastor of over 20 years.”
Said Wierzbicki: "Our contention in this election year is that for a Republican to win, you have to draw a contrast."
Kaloogian, who could not be reached for comment, won a San Diego-area Assembly seat in 1994 and served until 2000, when term limits forced him out of office. He and Russo helped push for the successful 2003 recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. Since, then, Kaloogian has failed in a couple of efforts to restart his political career.
“Has Howard resurfaced?” asked former state Sen. Steve Peace, a Democrat who was part of the San Diego County delegation when Kaloogian served in the state Legislature. “Howard has always been ambitious.”
-- Dan Morain
Photo: Former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times